Over at National Catholic Register Mark Shea carries water for socialist pro-abort Bernie Sanders:
Sanders? The pro-abort? But, but! Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2004:
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
Yes. He certainly did. And he’s absolutely right. And if my reader were in any way indicating he supported Sanders because he supports abortion, he’d be in exactly the pickle Cardinal Ratzinger describes. But my reader is obviously not trying to support abortion. What he’s trying to do is support the other things Sanders advocates, many of which are obviously and immeasurably better than what Trump advocates. And in a contest with a GOP candidate such as Trump whose views on abortion are indistinguishable from Sanders, there is therefore a case to be made that my reader can do so without incurring any sin at all.
Sez who? Sez Cardinal Ratzinger in the same letter:
A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
In other words, if you vote for somebody who advocates grave evil (abortion, euthanasia, torture, etc.) because of the grave evil they advocate, you are guilty of advocating the grave evil yourself and therefore are unworthy to present yourself for communion.
But! If you vote for somebody, not because you support their advocacy of grave evil, but because you are trying to prevent an even graver evil, or because you think there is some proportional good supporting them will achieve, you are not committing a sin and are only offering remote material cooperation with evil. Bottom line, the Church says that you can, under certain circumstances, vote for a pro-abort candidate. Meaning it is on the cards that, under certain circumstances, my reader might be able to vote for Bernie Sanders. That’s not me talking, remember. That’s the future Benedict XVI talking.
Go here to read the rest. What Mark leaves out of his analysis of course is an examination of proportionate reasons. What would be the proportionate reasons to justify support of a candidate who is ardently in favor of abortion on demand, a policy that has snuffed out 58 million unborn lives and counting? “You know, I am not in favor of slavery, but John Breckinridge has a good policy on tariffs, so he gets my vote and I hope he beats Lincoln.” “Well sure, Hitler hates Jews, but he is kind to animals so he gets my vote” “Yeah, Henry Wallace is a dupe of the Soviets, but I love his agricultural policy so I am voting for him instead of Truman or Dewey.” It is instructive in Mark’s piece the passion with which he goes after Donald Trump. I am not much more favorable to Trump than Shea is, but he brings no such guns to bear against Sanders. Shea rightfully doubts Trump’s pro-life conversion without noting that Sanders is not merely a pro-abort, but is a true fanatic on the subject. Go here to read just how extreme he is.
Shea of course says that once again he will not vote for a major party candidate because none of them are pure enough for him. However, his facebook postings clearly show the high regard he has for Sanders. When it comes to abortion and voting, for some time Shea has been doing his level best to convince his readers that abortion simply is not a very important consideration when it comes to voting, largely due to his manifest hatred of the GOP and his growing fondness for the Left.
David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts, has some decidedly non-daffey thoughts on Shea and Sanders:
But I noticed something. Over at National Catholic Register, Mark Shea steps forward and gives a name to this rule. For years, Mark joined other Catholics on the Internet who strongly suggested that voting was inherently dangerous to one’s soul. At least voting in a national election. Especially voting in the presidential races. While he never came out and said it was impossible, the overwhelming focus of his writings was on calling people to the higher way, rather than holding your nose and choosing the lesser of two evils.
Witness this piece from 2011. There is little difference between it and the one over at the Register this month. But there is one glaring difference. Mark tends to do a Jekyll and Hyde in his ministry. In the world of Catholic talks and Catholic publications, Mark can come off as a kindly, knowing and wise teacher who understands our struggles and lovingly tries to help guide us along the narrow way.
In the world of Social Media, however, Mr. Hyde takes over and it’s a bizarre Catholic version of Jack Chick without the charm. Stereotypes, laughably dismissible logic, false accusations, demonstrably flawed premises all dominate. And any who call him out are subject to almost slanderous attacks, tribalist memes, and accusations of not trusting in Jesus or listening to the Church. In that second context, Mark never gave ground on the issue of ‘voting for the lesser evil.’ Every time it was brought up – unless it was brought up by a personal friend of Mark’s – it was smacked down. It was called out as selling one’s soul for partisan tribalism. It was outright condemned. If Mark advocated for a politician, like Ron Paul, it was because Mark was clear that the individual in no way supported that which was evil. Those who in any way tried to hold out for the lesser of two evils were taken to the verbal woodshed.
Yes, in his Catholic Publications persona, Mark conceded that it could be done. After all, the Bishops make it clear that it can be done. But Mark was careful never to condone it in a specific case, and he always stepped forward and pointed to the higher way as the preferred alternative.
And yet now, in 2016, Mark breaks that trend. While still insisting he will remain forever and happily in the bleachers rather than join a team and help it win, Mark acknowledges that one can, in fact, choose the lesser of the two evils in good faith. Which he acknowledged before. But this time, he puts a name to the choice when he gives it a thumbs up, and that name is Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders, a man who doesn’t simply and humbly support one or two intrinsic evils, but one who has made it his career to push zealously the boundaries for multiple sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, as well as ending this laughable notion that all peoples and religions can be excused from bowing before the secular Left.
I just found it odd. After so many years of the barks and yells about the higher way, when Mark finally chose to be specific about that glaring exception he only hinted at in the past, he did it for a man who exemplifies everything that conservative and traditional believers loathe – and fear – from the emergent Left. And Mark does so by saying that apart from the single sin mentioned (abortion) in his piece, Bernie’s policies and ideas are for the greater good, which then cover the multitude of other policy sins.
Take it for what it’s worth. Before I stopped going to Mark’s Facebook page, he still said he’s a conservative at heart. Exactly how that works in this context, I can’t begin to say. I must have missed something. But it makes me worry that such an influential voice in Catholic lay ministries could do such a thing, and how many Catholics will, by extension, follow thorough with the approach.